“5 Tips For a Productive Summer”
The school year is over and although it might seem like the perfect time to binge watch a new T.V show or sleep in it’s actually the perfect time to get organized. You suddenly have little to no responsibilities, so why not allocate your time wisely. When I look back on my summer I want to not only remember the time I spent out enjoying the sun with my friends and at family bbq’s, but I also want to remember that internship and the skills I developed. I want to look back at the relationships I built with industry professionals and all of the growth that took place in those 3 months.
In the past two summers I have landed three internships and two fellowships. And it all would have been overwhelming if I didn’t have the time management and organization skills I have. The skills I learned and practiced during the summer then translated to making my school year run smoothly. Studying for exams felt easier, and by being better at allocating my time, I was able to get involved in several school organizations and even hold leadership positions in them.
Keep in mind, it does take time to adjust to new habits. But once you’ve seen the results, you might find yourself in my shoes by either writing a post for social media or simply sharing with friends. I have put together my top 5 tips on staying organized that help me accomplish more in a day, and have an overall more productive summer.
1. Think About Who/Where You Want To Be
We all know that success doesn’t come overnight. If you’re looking to go to school with plenty of scholarships and no student debt, writing those essays and submitting numerous applications takes time. But it’s worth it. If you want to land an internship over the summer you’ll have to do more than submit an application. You also have to carefully write the mini essay portions, do your research on the company, find contact information on LinkedIn, and network. It seems like too much work, but when your name stands out and you are picked for an interview, it’ll be worth it. Visualize yourself where you want to be in the future. The future can be three months, half a year, or even five years. When work is bringing you down and you would rather be at your friends house hanging out, remind yourself of the work that it takes to get to where you want to be. It’s a process, but once you have an idea of your goals you can do things with a purpose. Write it down and have it on your desk, as your phone background, or on a bulletin board in your bedroom or office. The more you visualize it and want it, the harder you will work.
2. Daily To Do List
I have my planner with me every day to check on my weekly goals, but more than that I have it to write to-do list. In high school I used to think weekly to-do list were the way to go until I realized I had a little friend known as procrastination. More than I’d like to admit I found myself pushing things back until the last day I had to complete them. Now I having my deadlines set and being able to visualize the time I have to complete them, I can divide one major task into chunks. Every morning before starting my day I take a look at my planner and see what I have coming up. I then put together at least 5 bullet points of the things I am going to get done that day. Not everything has to be a hard time consuming task. They can range from, apply for a scholarship, check on financial aid, meal prep, call sister, work on YouTube channel and any other fun projects you have going on. Crossing them off a list is very satisfying and you can track how active and productive you are being during the week/weekend.
Ps. If carrying a planner feels like too much of a commitment or is simply not your style, phone lists are a great way. That way you are guaranteed to have it with you at all times.
3. Create a Space
Years ago if I had to study for an exam or write an essay I would go straight to bed and think “if I’m comfortable I’ll do better, right?” My advice isn’t to do your work in an uncomfortable setting, but to find a space that inspires you, motivates you, and that will keep you focused for longer than 15 minutes. There is no right or wrong work place, it’s about knowing yourself and knowing what setting works best for you. It might even take some rearranging of your office/desk or trying a couple of coffee shops before finding “the one”. Some advice is to clear your bedroom desk if you have one and keep only the essentials such as your laptop, planner, some pens and highlighters, post it notes, and perhaps some inspirational quotes or images. What I’ve found is that when a space is too crowded, I feel messy even if it’s organized and it becomes harder to work.
Some people work better when they have a routine and a constant which is often their workspace. If you feel that working in the same space every day is boring, move around and try different settings. As I mentioned it’s about knowing yourself first and being comfortable with making the space or spaces work for YOU.
4. Use Your Phone With a Purpose
Phones are the #1 distraction, lets get that out there. Especially over the summer when so many people are on vacation and posting fun pictures on social media you can get lost in a trance. What was supposed to be checking your texts for a minute turns into an hour. With all of the social media platforms available Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat and more. There are endless opportunities to get distracted, so naturally the best choice is to get rid of them when you set time aside for work. I will admit I spend a lot of time on social media and that is because most of my work centers around it. But when taking the time to focus on other projects or tasks I want to get done in an hour or two, I only pick up my phone if it’s with a purpose. If I set an hour aside to apply for scholarships, I get on the Minorities to Majorities app, and once that is done I put it away. Just as if I have something urgent to ask a friend I call them and then put my phone away. Cell phones aren’t our enemies, they are tools we need to learn to use for our benefit.
5. Reward Yourself
At the end of the day it is your summer break, and you only get so many of those especially if you are still in school. The goal is to find a balance between giving yourself work to get done and having free time to go out and enjoy the long summer days with your friends and family. Having fun is part of summer so make the effort to have at least one summery activity a week. When you are happy you will overall work better, and having a fun activity to look forward to at the end of the week or mid week will help you push through those days when you’re feeling a big sluggish.
Comment down below and let us know how you stay motivated and have a productive summer.